Why is there such a stigma around teenage girls in the music industry and the artist they support? Does it come from a purely misogynistic mindset, or is there reasoning behind the thought?
While interviewing singer-songwriter Eva Rose (a past/current stan of many artists including Harry Styles and Ariana Grande)she explained it best.
Eva:I don’t want to make this such a like a dichotomy between men and women. That's so binary but I think it’s because women, in general, have society have no problem being showing emotional investment and being passionate about things whereas guys are not. I don’t I don’t think I’ve ever seen except for apart from you know, the heteronormative things of sports. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a group that has, you know, predominantly male fans whose whose male fans would go who would be as passionate and as you know, revere them like if more They’re probably like, I don’t know, fucking metallic, I don’t know, The Beatles, The Led Zeppelin guys are like now.I think women are the backbone of this country, I think we go out of the way. And women really are the most supportive, or the most engaged. I just think as women, we just know how to love things. And we can express it like people will write off is like, oh, you’re over-emotional, you’re irrational. But it’s like, No, we just actually know how to express our love for things. When we want something to thrive, we will make sure that it does. And so I don’t understand why anyone would ever look at the fan base of, you know, a band or an artist like one direction and see that there are predominately female and say they suck. Like, look at their bank accounts.
When looking at some of the biggest acts over the last ten years such as One Direction, Taylor Swift, BTS, Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande. A common factor between all these acts would be that their fan bases are predominantly made up of teenage girls, and this factor can be immediately traced back to their success.
An artist that has continuously brought this to light would be Harry Styles. In Style’s 2017 Rolling Stone interview he states..
“Who’s to say that young girls who like pop music — short for popular, right? — have worse musical taste than a 30-year-old hipster guy?” Harry asserts. “That’s not up to you to say. Music is something that’s always changing. There are no goal posts. Young girls like the Beatles. Are you gonna tell me they’re not serious? How can you say young girls don’t get it?” Harry said. “They’re our future. Our future doctors, lawyers, mothers, presidents, they kind of keep the world going. Teenage-girl fans — they don’t lie. If they like you, they’re there. They don’t act ‘too cool.’ They like you, and they tell you. Which is sick.”
We need to begin to acknowledge that these girls are the future of our industry, and are helping keep it alive.
After years of actively being involved in stan culture, many of these girls find themselves pursuing a career in the music business. Some create podcasts that center around stan’s involvements in the industry(First In Line Podcast), and others go a more traditional route by making music or getting involved with labels/creating their own.
Cameron Pontius is a 21-year-old majoring in Touring at the Music Institute in Hollywood. She just as Eva had, started off as One Direction stan which led her to her love for live music. She shoots small indie shows all over Los Angeles on film and one day wishes to start her own Music and Media collective. “I owe everything in my life to stan culture. It was on Twitter in these groups eight years ago that I met my best friends. We formed a community that is so tight-knit that fast forward years later we are all grown up and live together! A lot of us are pursuing careers in music and collaborating together. Everything we are doing is really innovative and collaboration based, and would not be possible without our stan days.”
The music industry would simply not exist without fandoms. As Brodie Lancaster from Pitchfork says in his piece Pop Music, Teenage Girls and the Legitimacy of Fandom “Pop music is fundamentally about the fans”. At the end of the day, everything that artists do is for the fans, which is why these stans take it upon themselves to help their artists reach new highs. The content that these artists release is what keeps these fandoms going, and the industry alive. It’s simply what their life revolves around.